Bath Babies: How to Bathe Your Newborn
Bathing your baby for the first time can be an overwhelming experience, but it doesn’t have to be! Bath time is the perfect time to develop routines that keep that tender tushie feeling fine with the bonus of cozy cuddles and splashy giggles.
The World Health Organization advises delaying that first bath for the first 24 hours to ensure the vernix caseosa, the greasy, whitish protective coating babies are born with, stays intact. The vernix helps to protect the skin and contains anti-inflammatory properties that helps prevent infections after birth!
Since it’s now encouraged for newborns to be sponge-bathed until the umbilical cord has dried and fallen off, creating a baby washing station near a water source is a nice way to keep your baby clean and smelling oh-so-good! Babies need to have their faces, hands, the base around their umbilical cord, and diaper area washed daily.
Baby Washing Station Staples
- Sink or small bathtub
- 3 cotton washcloths
- Mild soap
- Hooded towel
What to Do
- Fill the sink with tepid water (32-37.8℃). If you don’t have a thermometer, dip your elbow in the water first to ensure it is a comfortable temperature.
- On a flat surface beside your water source, swaddle your little one in a towel. Uncovering one area of the body to be cleaned at a time, work your way down from head to feet including behind the ears, in ear crevices, and under the arms. Save the diaper area for last and remember, with female genitalia, be sure to wipe the diaper area from front to back.
- Using the second clean cloth and warm water, wipe each eye, starting at the tear duct (located next to the side of the nose). To help clear blocked tear ducts, gently massage the tear duct with circular motions and wipe toward the opposite corner of the eye. Switching to a clean corner of the cloth, repeat with the other eye.
- Use the third clean wash cloth and warm water to gently wipe inside baby’s mouth and gums.
- Follow up your baby’s bath with a gentle massage. It’s a great way to connect!
Finding the best natural baby products
Long lists of unfamiliar ingredients can leave a parent totally confused when it comes to choosing the best products for baby. When considering a gentle cleanser for tender skin, keep castile soap in mind. Derived from olive oil, it’s low-foaming but cleanses well. If looking for a shampoo-style product, opt for ones that contain mild surfactants like CAPB (cocamidopropyl betaine), coco, decyl, or lauryl glucoside, and some glutamates and sarcosinates. A well-formulated product will contain surfactants in conjunction with a fatty ingredient like vegetable glycerine to create a well-balanced recipe. If on the hunt for baby-friendly herbals, both calming chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) and soothing calendula (Calendula officinalis) are lovely additions.
Essential oils should always be approached with a dose of caution as many are too strong for use with newborns. In all cases, undiluted essential oils should never be applied directly to skin! Safe use of essential oils always includes dilution in a carrier oil, such as olive or sunflower oil.
No longer a newborn!
While the bathing method suggested for newborns is still relevant, by three months your baby may also enjoy being bathed in a shallow baby bathtub or even in the sink. And once baby can sit unassisted and begins eating solid food, bath time will become a more frequent necessity! Dry patches are common, especially in winter. If they develop, reduce bath frequency to three times a week while continuing to wash your baby’s face and hands, and sponge bath the diaper area daily.
Bath time memories are some of the best. From making bubble beards, to favourite toys, games, and songs, time spent together laughing in warm water will stay with you both for years to come!